Employees vote to unionize at Kamloops A&W | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Employees vote to unionize at Kamloops A&W

A Kamloops A&W is unionizing after getting certification last week from the BC Labour Relations Board.

Employees at a Kamloops A&W voted to unionize in what might be a first in Canada for the fast food chain.

The Valleyview location's workers voted 56% in favour, joining the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 993.

Brian Andrews of local 993 said the newly-represented employees got their certification from the BC Labour Relations Board on Nov. 17, after starting the process this summer.

He said the drive to get unionized wasn't necessarily because of wages. It came because of "small things that built up" over time among the staff, adding that getting the votes submitted was a challenge because of staff turnover.

"The main thing they're concerned about is management wasn't listening to them," Andrews said. "They want to be treated with respect."

Andrews said A&W is "notoriously anti-union," so it's not clear how long it might take for a collective agreement to be negotiated

A spokesperson for the fast food chain did not immediately respond to an inquiry from iNFOnews.ca.

Although the local 993 is an electrical union and typically has not represented employees from other industries, Andrews said its Lower Mainland counterpart, local 213, has members in several other non-electrical industries already.

The move to unionize comes more than a year after workers at the local Sephora store became the first outlet in North America to get approved for a union. After its September 2022 vote, Sephora employees won their demand to be paid during mandatory bag-checks, but they haven't yet signed a collective agreement.

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